Best Handheld Steamer

Mastering Handheld Steam Cleaners

The Essential Guide to Portable Cleaning

Handheld steam cleaners are a must-have for any home. They are ideal for those smaller jobs when a larger steam cleaner is overkill.

You may be skeptical about their use, especially if you have never owned one before.

Rest assured, we have done extensive research and can assure you that this page will take you through all you need to know about handheld steam cleaners. Before you know it, you will have a thorough understanding of what they are and what they are capable of.

Note this page focuses on handheld steam cleaners only. For other kinds of steam cleaners, please see Transform Your Cleaning Routine: Discover the Magic of Steam Cleaners and Unlocking the Power of Steam Mops: A Guide to Effective and Eco-Friendly Cleaning

So, what is a handheld steam cleaner?

A handheld steam cleaner is exactly as the name suggests. They are handheld devices that use steam produced from water, to clean and sanitize many different surfaces (typically these surfaces include clothes, grease deposits, grout, tiles, bathrooms and toilets etc.).

Because it cleans and sanitizes using steam you do not need to worry about requiring harsh chemicals to kill germs like E.coli, listeria, and salmonella.

It is like a larger steam cleaner, only smaller, lightweight and more portable. There are also many cordless versions which makes their use even easier and more convenient.

Handheld steam cleaners are the ideal choice for small cleaning jobs, or places difficult to reach with a full-sized steam cleaner.

handheld steam cleaner

And what does a handheld steam cleaner do?

Handheld steam cleaners function in the same manner as larger, full-sized steam cleaners. They use pressurized, heated steam, to remove dirt and grime from various surfaces.

This process also kills bacteria, germs, viruses, and small insects like dust mites and bed bugs.

But do handheld steam cleaners really work?

We have tried various handheld steam cleaners and can assure you that they absolutely do work. However, like any product, you need to be willing to invest in quality for the best results.

There are some cheap and nasty versions out there, that simply will not produce the same results as the higher-quality ones.

The main thing to remember is that handheld steam cleaners are designed for smaller jobs. You will have a hard time cleaning all your carpets with a small handheld. That is not to say it will not work, it definitely will. But it will take a massive amount of time. For larger jobs like those, we recommend a full-sized steam cleaner.

Are handheld steam cleaners worth buying?

Handheld steam cleaners are absolutely a worthwhile addition to your cleaning supplies. If you take the time to find yourself a high-quality one, you can enjoy the following benefits:

7 Benefits of using hand held steam cleaners

  • Affordable
  • Non-toxic
  • Kills pests
  • Sanitizes
  • Deodorizes naturally
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Can be used anywhere

How to use a handheld steam cleaner

Handheld steam cleaners are very simple to use. While they come in different varieties, and specific instructions may differ between models, the basic principle will always remain the same.

  1. Simply fill the dispenser with clean, cold water (if your water is soft), otherwise distilled water
  2. Choose the appropriate attachment, depending on your cleaning task
  3. Allow time for heating of the water to steam (Some handheld steam cleaners need a little time to heat up after you turn them on, while others heat as they go and can be used immediately)
  4. All you need to do next is aim the nozzle at the area you wish to clean and direct the powered steam at it
  5. Stop the steam, wipe the surface, and inspect

It’s worth noting that some very stubborn areas may need you to repeat this process more than once, while others will be spotless first go.

The more you use the handheld steam cleaner, the more you will get a sense of what areas and types of dirt need more attention.

The many variants of this wonderous cleaning tool

Car steam cleaners

One of the more popular uses for a handheld steam cleaner is in your car. The smaller, lightweight design makes it far more portable and easier to clean car interiors.

Using steam instead of chemicals also means it will not damage your car’s interior surfaces. You can use the handheld for the outside of your car also and be confident of a thorough clean with no scratches.

Be aware that using a handheld steam cleaner for your car exterior will take longer than using a full-sized steam cleaner.

Handheld steam cleaner for upholstery

Handheld steam cleaners are ideal for cleaning upholstery. In fact, many handheld steam cleaners are branded as being upholstery cleaners.

You want to ensure that you find one with a variety of attachments for getting your upholstery thoroughly cleaned, noting that corners and edges can be tricky to get take care of.

You also want to ensure that you allow sufficient drying time after your steam clean.

Furniture steam cleaner

Furniture cleaning is another brilliant use for the handheld steam cleaner.

Because you are using water-based steam, you do not ever need to worry about causing scratches or damaging delicate surfaces. This is especially handy for furniture items that are made of more than one kind of material (for example a metal table with a glass top).

You can use the handheld steam cleaner on all parts of your furniture without risk of harm.

The only exception is any furniture that has an electrical component, such as massage chairs. Water and electricity do not mix, so we do not recommend using your handheld steam cleaner for these items.

Handheld steam cleaner for couch or sofa

Couches and sofas are notorious for two things. Getting dirty easily and being a challenge to clean.

Well, you will be pleased to know that the handheld steam cleaner is ideal for cleaning your couch or sofa. It will clean and sanitize, with the added bonus of killing any bacteria or bugs that may be lurking.

Just remember that your couch or sofa will need time to dry after steam cleaning before you can sit on it.

Handheld steam cleaner for bathroom

Bathrooms are the bane of cleaning for many people. Between soap scum, mold, and everyday dust and dirt, getting your bathroom spotless can feel like a real challenge.

There are many products out there that claim to make cleaning bathrooms easier, but they often contain harsh chemicals which can be unpleasant, tricky, or even dangerous to use.

Rest assured; the handheld steam cleaner is the answer to your prayers. It will have you easily and hygienically cleaning your bathroom in no time.

Handheld steamer for cleaning grout

One of the reasons bathrooms are so notoriously difficult to clean is because of grout.

It is porous, and thin and usually sits lower than the tiles which surround it. This all adds up to a nightmare cleaning job if you do not have the right tools at your disposal.

Fortunately, the handheld steam cleaner will have to effortlessly cleaning your grout in no time. The steam will easily remove any dirt or grime from the grout and have your surfaces looking like new without scratching your tiles or damaging your grout.

Travel steamer

Have you ever travelled, either for work or pleasure, and been faced with an iron that doesn’t heat up, or looks like someone cooked bacon on it? You’re tired of course, and just want to get the wrinkles out of your clothes before that meeting.

Well here is the answer you’ve been dreaming of: the humble hand held steamer is ultra portable and perfect for taking away with you on trips. You know what it’s been used for before today and it will quickly smooth those wrinkles and even freshen up an item of clothing if you need to re-wear it (see our next tip on using it to clean your clothes!).

Portable steamer for cleaning clothes

Dry cleaning clothes is expensive and time-consuming. While there are some clothing items that simply cannot be machine washed, you can take comfort in the knowledge that there is a third option.

That’s right, the handheld steam cleaner can be used for cleaning your clothes. While you can buy clothing steamers as a stand-alone product, these are more for an ironing alternative rather than cleaning.

To clean your clothes using the power of steam, opt for a good quality handheld steam cleaner instead.

Handheld steam cleaners can be cordless

Handheld steam cleaners come in corded and cordless options. We strongly recommend cordless versions, for the following reasons.

  • Can take them anywhere
  • Do not need to rely on power points
  • Cords can be dangerous and trip hazards

Frequently Asked Questions on Handheld Steam Cleaners

1.    Which is the best handheld steam cleaner to buy?

This depends entirely on your needs and budget. Make sure you take the time to check customer reviews before you buy to make sure you are getting exactly what you need. And always choose quality over cost savings, as a good handheld steam cleaner will save you money in the long run.

2.    Is there anything I can’t clean with a handheld steam cleaner?

Electrical items or items with any electrical component should not be cleaned using a steam cleaner, be is full-sized or handheld. Also do not use steam cleaning for items that you wish to use immediately as you must allow sufficient drying time.

3.    Can I put cleaning products in my handheld steam cleaner instead of water?

We strongly advise against this as it can damage your handheld steam cleaner.


We hope this page has helped give you a handy introduction to handheld steam cleaners. Please explore the rest of our website for more information on steam cleaners and steam cleaning!